100 good reasons to go to space !

To have good time on the Moon - (Drinking Carlsberg beer - Advertisement) Credits: Carlsberg

To have good time on the Moon – (Astronaut drinking Carlsberg beer on the Moon – Advertisement) Credits: Carlsberg

  1. Why not?
  2. Because we can.
  3. To shut up the people who said: “No, you can’t”.
  4. To extend human limits.
  5. To expand human knowledge.
  6. “Earth is the cradle of humanity, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.” Konstantin E. Tsiokovsky (1911) – astronautics pioneer
  7. Because we are not afraid of a challenge.
  8. To be a part of the exploration of space.
  9. To tell your grandchildren amazing stories about the beginning of the space odyssey.
  10.  To evoke the next step of human evolution.
  11. Improve daily life on Earth by pushing development of advanced technology
  12. To foster international cooperation.
  13. To understand “life”.
  14. Because the benefits of a mission are not quantifiable.
  15. To inspire people.
  16. To better understand the human body.
  17. To help people understand that we must preserve Earth.
  18. To develop space tourism.
  19. To be part of history.
  20. To understand the value of our home.
  21. To understand the value of fresh water.
  22. To improve water management.
  23. To investigate alternative food systems.
  24. Because we are not robots.
  25. To get a better spot to observe the cosmos.
  26. To make people ninjas of waste management.
  27. To meet some aliens.
  28. Because this would be the next giant leap of humankind.
  29. Because we control our destiny.
  30. Because we are born to explore.
  31. Because it is difficult.
  32. Because it is not forbidden.
  33. Because it could be the largest peaceful enterprise of humankind.
  34. To have a cooler rocket than Tintin.
  35. To one day have affordable space travel.
  36. Because you can be on-board of a spaceship.
  37. To have an interplanetary Yuri’s Night!
  38. To make all Sci-Fi movies to look obsolete.
  39. Kids will play with astronauts instead of Barbie dolls.
  40. So artists can paint reality.
  41. To break free.
  42. Because everybody has a role to play in space exploration.
  43. To become an astronaut.
  44. To have a cool application of mathematics.
  45. To invent new sports.
  46. To improve medicine.
  47. To improve human behavior.
  48. To smell other planets.
  49. For you.
  50. To make tele-reaching a commonplace.
  51. Because geologists rock!
  52. To easily modify the trajectory of dangerous asteroids.
  53. Because it is not a dream, it is near future.
  54. To be prepared in case of alien invasion.
  55. To change the world.
  56. To eat Moon cakes on the Moon.
  57. To watch “full Earth” from the Moon.
  58. To understand that Earth is unique.
  59. To have a spare place when Earth dies.
  60. To open a gateway to the Solar System.
  61. Because the space race doesn’t belong to the past.
  62. Because we are not the center of the universe.
  63. Because discoveries are invaluable.
  64. Because “I am from Earth” will truly mean something.
  65. To develop sustainable and efficient propulsion.
  66. To develop a sustainable and efficient power supply.
  67. To better control radiation.
  68. To watch movies made of real space pictures.
  69. To hear the silence of space.
  70. Because you could be the first human on Mars.
  71. To eat a Mars bar on Mars.
  72. To be a pioneer.
  73. Because if more people go to space, more people will follow.
  74. Because we have questions.
  75. So we can get answers.
  76. To be a hero.
  77. Because we can’t wait anymore.
  78. Because everyone must have a chance to go.
  79. Because there is no easy kind of exploration mission.
  80. Because no robotic mission will be able to perform as a human does.
  81. To have another point of view on the Milky Way.
  82. To keep scientists busy for a long time.
  83. To play the Star Wars theme song among stars.
  84. To feel weightlessness.
  85. To have an Interplanetary Space University.
  86. To watch a spaceship race!
  87. Because a lot of people are already volunteering.
  88. To understand what humankind truly needs.
  89. Because so many people dream of it.
  90. To end the debate of whether pencils are more efficient than pens in space.
  91. To improve the intellectual level of TV shows.
  92. To understand that Earth’s atmosphere is thin, fragile and precious.
  93. To do the Moon Walk on the Moon.
  94. To lie on the moon and stare up at the stars.
  95. Because it is only the beginning of the story of humankind.
  96. Because many people were not born in 1969.
  97. To touch the Martian ground.
  98. To benefit from clean energy.
  99. Because space is the place to be.
  100. Because we are all Born For Space!

Europa: a better target than Mars to find alien life

At the beginning of the 17th century, few people contributed to the invention of the refracting telescope. It was the beginning of lenses capable of observing objects with a large aperture. In 1610, Galileo Galilei provided the major contribution to the design of this optical device and used it in order to observe celestial bodies. Among other observations and discoveries, he pointed the refracting telescope at the giant planet Jupiter. It was such a surprise when he discovered that Earth was not the only planet with a moon. Actually, at this time Galileo observed four of the natural satellites around Jupiter: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

Europa, natural colours - Credits: NASA

Europa, natural colours – Credits: NASA

In 1996, Galileo the space probe made the most significant discovery since Galileo the scientist: Europa has water ice on the surface with a higher mineral content which may allow extraterrestrial life! In 1982, in his book 2010: Odyssey Two, Arthur C. Clarke imagined an ocean below Europa’s ice which hosted a form of life.

2010:Odyssey Two - Credits: D.Shire

2010:Odyssey Two – Credits: D.Shire

Europa is the sixth-closest natural satellite of Jupiter. It orbits the giant planet in three and half Earth days and is slightly smaller than the Moon. From Earth, spectroscopy helps to determine the composition of planets. The light from Europa was observed with different wavelengths which revealed that the planet was composed of silicate rock and has an iron core. The layer of water ice wasn’t detected until the space probe Galileo flew over Europa in 1996. A salty ocean covered the entire planet below the water ice layer. This demonstrates the need of space exploration: Observing and discovering features which are not possible to do remotely.

Conditions of life on Europa

This satellite of Jupiter harbors the conditions necessary for life such as liquid water, appropriate chemical elements and energy. These are essential elements for the presence of life in the form as we know it; carbon based.

By studying the Jovian magnetic field and its surface, Europa allowed us to discover some of its mysteries. It appears that the surface has been transformed by tectonic activity. Planetary scientists found evidence of presence of salty liquid water below the ice water surface.

Jupiter constantly bombards Europa with radiation. Europa’s surface is composed of water ice and other material which is transformed into oxygen, hydrogen peroxide, carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. These components could be valuable nutrients for supporting life.

In order to have water in liquid form, the planet must receive appropriate heat. This may be generated with the interaction of Jupiter’s gravity and its others moons Io and Ganymede. On Earth, we experience the same interaction with the Moon over oceans but regarding Jupiter’s gravity it is microscopic.

On Earth, early life appeared in deep oceans where light doesn’t exist. This means that not all life is dependent on photosynthesis.

All these elements indicate that a form of life has great chance to exist on Europa below the surface. Compared to Mars where the presence of liquid water hasn’t been proven yet, Europa seems more likely to host life.

Potential life on Europa - Credits: NASA

Potential life on Europa – Credits: NASA

Around 2022 the European Space Agency (ESA) plans to launch the space probe “Jupiter Icy Moon Explorer” (JUICE) which will explore Jupiter, Calisto, Europe and Ganymede. Regarding Europa, JUICE will look for evidence of the ocean and determine the composition of the ice. There are large expectations from this mission to provide components that could support the presence of alien life on Europa.

Because we are all Born For Space!